African Spiritualism: The Law of the Spirit.
The law of the spirit governs this African spiritual view of the world. This law reflects the preponderance and the dominance of the spiritual reality in the traditional African beliefs and worldviews.
In African society, it’s believed that the whole of creation is replete with the dominant and pervasive presence of the impersonal powers and forces, spirit beings, many divinities, and gods. Therefore, in essence, this world is believed to be spiritual rather than material and thought that life is saturated with supernatural possibilities. This view is further described as Everything in life is influenced by and responds to the world of spirits. Traditional Africans believe that whatever happens in the physical realm has a spiritual co-ordinate. Likewise, whatever transpires in the spiritual realm has a direct bearing on the physical world. Man is related to and dependent upon the unknown and the unseen. For this reason, all of life has to be understood spiritually. Most times, if not all the time, it’s that the correct response to any situation is spiritual, whether it is a family affair, sickness, or ceremony.
This African religious worldview is called African spiritualism, and it is pervasive and dominates the entire life of an African man.
The reason for this spiritual pervasiveness and dominance is that in African Spiritualism, it’s believed that the whole universe is interconnected through the will and the power contained in both animate and inanimate objects. Everything man is, does, handles, projects, and interacts with is interpenetrated with the spiritual. His socio-cultural structures, down to their most exquisite details, are under the control of the spiritual powers or forces. That is why a typical Africa will blame his or her village people who for headache, job failures, and kinds of stuff.
It’s believed that nothing in man’s environment escapes the influence of manipulating the spirit world. That the world is more spiritual than it is physical, and it is spiritually upheld. If life is affected by spirits, it is of utmost importance to maintain good relations with the spirits and secure their favor.
Various concepts and terms have been used to describe the traditional religious worldview. It’s believed that life’s questions and answers revolve around the spiritual rather than the physical. It is on account of this spiritual view of life that in an African setting, when personal resources fail, religious specialists will divine and supply satisfaction meanings. Traditional Africans would want to find out what lies behind every incident in life, such as catastrophes, natural disasters, disease, untimely death, and other life difficulties. Because it’s already believed that nothing happens without a spiritual reason, one must look beyond the obvious to find the spiritual reasons or causes of things that happen in life. Because the unseen is present in all phenomena.
Given this African spiritual view of the world, external religions have to address the intrinsic meaning of African spiritualism and the dominance of the law of the spirit in traditional African life.
African Spiritualism gives the traditional African worldview a pantheistic conception of the source and the effect of the mystical and spiritual powers and forces. In contrast, the presence of myriad spirits and divinities, gives it a polytheistic conception.